As you know, I am a firm believer in salvaging vintage furniture and restoring second-hand finds to give them a new lease of life. My favourite programme at the moment is Fill Your House for Free and my current obsession is trawling the internet for the perfect second hand vintage dresser for my dining room. However, there’s a big difference between having the enthusiasm for restoring furniture and having the necessary skills to do a proper job.
So when I was invited to attend an Annie Sloan chalk paint workshop I leapt at the opportunity.
Annie Sloan is arguably the best in the industry when it comes to furniture painting and has legions of devoted fans including Kirstie Allsopp who felt moved to declare ‘Annie Sloan paint was invented by angels to make everything fun.’ So I set off bright and eager on a saturday morning and made my way to Dulwich for the course to find out more.The half day workshop was organised and run by Rigby and Mac, and aimed to teach the techniques required to paint anything from solid wood furniture to brick, metal and laminate. We started by learning how to create a softly aged paint effect and played around with the range of matt chalky shades, layering them up and sanding them back to reveal the colours beneath. We then moved on to experiment with the different waxes before finishing with the highlight of the course; playing with gold, silver and bronze leaf.
The beauty of these paints is that you don’t need to do any prep to the surface before you paint (yes, really) and they work on anything including, astoundingly, metal or laminate. I tried my best to find out what the secret ingredient was but the teacher was easily able to resist my pleading, so it remains a closely guarded secret. Suffice it to say they work. And the soft chalky finish is worlds away from oily, sticky laminate paints i’ve experimented with in the past; because they are water based they are also odour-free and eco-friendly.
So, what am I going to do with these new found skills and knowledge? Well, the instructor warned us that we would now want to paint everything in sight, and true to form, I have set myself the not so insignificant challenge of re-painting my entire kitchen. I’ll be posting an update to let you know how I get on, so watch this space.
*I attended the half day beginners workshop and was a guest of Rigby and Mac*
Images: Victoria Harrison